Of course birds let you get closer when you're in a car. That's as true at 
Stewart Park and along any back road as it is in Montezuma. I do a ton of 
observation and photography from my car, sometimes even in my own driveway.

That's great for one person, but it stinks for groups. 

Having to remain in a car on the wildlife drive diminishes the possible 
experience of any group, especially a group with a scope, which cannot be used 
by multiple people (the best teaching tool for groups). It also diminishes the 
potential experience for kids and anyone who would like to get out and get a 
closer look.

I'm hearing a lot of 1%-er talk, "I want to optimize my experience, and the 
riff-raff should just stay away (or stay in their cars)." I am as guilty (or 
more) as anyone of wanting to have the entire refuge to myself. But in the 
bigger picture, I don't see having too many people enjoying nature at Montezuma 
as the problem.  I think it's quite the opposite: there are too FEW people 
learning about nature there.  

Those of us interested in nature and supportive of the National Wildlife Refuge 
system should want EVERYONE to get out of their cars and poke around. I WANT 
people to peer through the reeds and see a turtle (or maybe a rail).  I WANT 
people to stop and take pictures of the flowers.  I WANT people to get out and 
marvel at a muskrat mound, and then have a young Bald Eagle fly over their 
heads. (It's hard to look up from a back seat.)

In my personal opinion, anything that reduces the availability of wildlife 
watching and nature exploration for the general public is a bad thing.  Of 
course safety measures should be in place to protect the wildlife and the 
habitat. But access and education should be the default. Unless you have a 
darned good reason, please don't keep me and my kids (and neighbors, and 
parents, and friends) out.


Kevin McGowan
Ithaca, NY


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